The 2012 BMW Auckland Regatta wrapped up in spectacular fashion today with yachts battling a stiff 30-knot south westerly wind that had the big multihulls smoking, saw one catamaran capsize and several yachts broach wildly under spinnaker.
The blustery conditions ensured that the fleet had been well tested in all conditions, from virtually drifting at times on the first day, to brisk sailing in steady mid-teen breezes on the second day and a howling gale on the third.
Eventually, racing was called off early as the conditions became too boisterous. On the Eastern Beach course, Clive Wright’s catamaran Tigre capsized across the start-finish line, narrowly missing the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron Committee boat.
Tigre is not unfamiliar with capsizes, but nobody was injured and the crew were none the worse for their dunking. The Coastguard were able to take the upside down yacht under tow and haul it to shelter.
The BMW Auckland Regatta is jointly run by the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron and Bucklands Beach Yacht Club. Eighty five yachts in 12 divisions competed with the 8.5m and open multihulls also using the event for their national championships.
Simon Hull’s impressive Orma 60 trimaran, Team Vodafone Sailing, was literally smoking around the course at speeds in excess of 30 knots, with two hulls frequently lifting high out of the water to take out the overall title in its division.
In the 8.5m class, Tigre wound up third, despite its dramatic flip, with Andrew Potter’s Borderline taking out the title.
In the hotly contested A Division, Connel McLaren’s new Ker 40, Ice Breaker, swept the prizes and won the IRC title. 'It was a fantastic regatta,' he said. He was delighted with the boat’s performance across the range of conditions. 'We have not found a weak point of sail yet,' he said. 'The boat is strong in all conditions.'
Two Australian crews, one from Melbourne and one from Sydney, added an international flavour to the event, both competing in the MRX division. However, they were not able to prevent a seasoned local crew led by Pete Waters from taking the honours with an impressive scorecard that featured nine firsts and a second.
Max Sheaffe, bowman on the Royal Prince Edward Yacht Club team from Sydney, thoroughly enjoyed the experience of racing in such widely varied winds. 'It has been a fabulous series. We will do it again,' he declared.
Several yachts came from out of Auckland, including the winner of B Division, Frenzy, owned by Roger Rushton of Tauranga, who beat a strong line-up of local boats.
Another out-of-towner was Anthony Leisuts’ Medium Dry from Christchurch, which finished up third overall in the always hotly-contested Young 88 Division, which was won by Russell Hopper’s Raging Hormones.
Phil Yuill’s Farr 1020 took out the top honours in Division C, while Division D was dominated by Damon Jolliffe’s Motorboat. The Sport Boat class was won by Chris Hirst’s Enigma and the Elliott 7 class, sailed by the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron’s Lion Foundation Youth Programme squad was won by Boating NZ (Matt Smeaton, Scott Beavis, Magnus Doole and Amanda Hargreaves) with International Paints in second place.
Along with BMW, the Principal Partner, BMW Auckland Regatta thanks the following sponsors for their generosity and support with the event: Steinlager • Mount Gay Rum • Pic Marine Insurance • Safety At Sea • Beacon Sails • Telstraclear Pacific • Yachting NZ by Ivor Wilkins